The Washington Capitals dealt struggling winger Yogi Svejkovsky to the Tampa Bay Lightning today for a seventh-round pick in this June's draft and a third-round pick in the 2001 draft, parting ways with a player who once looked like a top prospect but could not crack the lineup consistently this season.
Svejkovsky, 23, the 17th overall pick in the 1996 draft, was a potent goal scorer in junior hockey and blazed through the minor leagues, scoring 50 goals and 85 points in 70 American Hockey League games. He was the AHL rookie of the year in 1996-97, when he also scored seven goals in 19 games with the Capitals. The Hockey News voted him the sixth-best prospect in the world not playing in the NHL following that season.
However, he scored just 11 goals in his last 65 NHL games, including one in 23 games this season. Svejkovsky, not a strong defensive player, has been plagued by injuries since reaching the NHL. Ankle injuries and a concussion limited him to just 42 games over the previous two seasons and he missed seven games with a shoulder injury this season. The coaches and management hoped to see him practice harder and play with more determination. He was a healthy scratch in seven of the past eight games.
"He wasn't playing well enough to make our lineup right now and it didn't look like he was going to play much," General Manager George McPhee said. "It's always a tough decision to trade a young player, it's the toughest decision a manager can make--is the player just not playing well or will he ever play well enough? You'd like to move a player who can't play well enough in time to get value."
The Capitals had been shopping Svejkovsky this month, sources said, hoping to land a second-round pick. But sources said the only firm offer was from Tampa Bay, and the prospect's value had dropped drastically in many teams' estimations. With the possibility looming of losing Svejkovsky to expansion, the Capitals decided to make a move now, ensuring compensation.
Svejkovsky said recently he would embrace a trade to a team where he would get more ice time; the rebuilding Lightning will provide that opportunity. He signed a three-year year deal in September worth an average of $600,000 a season. Svejkovsky did not accompany the Capitals to Florida.
Leading goal scorer Peter Bondra (sprained knee) did not make the road trip. He has not scored since Nov. 27. Washington is 10-8-3 in that span. . . .
Winger Barrie Moore played his first game with Washington and first NHL game since the 1996-97 season. He was recalled from Portland, Maine, Sunday night.